Ahead of the final game of the season, Kalidou Koulibaly talks about lessons learned, making a statement against Newcastle, and Chelsea’s youthful future…

At 31 years of age, Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the experienced heads in a young Chelsea squad.

On Thursday night at Old Trafford the defender was on the bench as the Blues fielded our youngest side in the Premier League era. With the knowledge he has gained over many years playing in Serie A and now the Premier League, Koulibaly has views on what this means for the future of the club.

‘The team was really young with a lot of new young players, so I think that it was good for them to try in this nice atmosphere at United,’ says the Senegal international captain.

‘So we have to keep on working. I know it is tough for everybody to lose like this because we created a lot of opportunities, but United have a lot of experience on the pitch and we just have to keep on believing in these young players because I think we have a nice future. We are going to work with them to bring them to a high level.’

That match in Manchester was the penultimate outing of the season with the curtain coming down at Stamford Bridge today.

‘We want to finish good in front of our supporters,’ stresses Koulibaly. ‘We know that it was a tough season for everybody but we want to finish on a great note in a great game, with a win.

‘It’s a game against Newcastle who are going to play in the Champions League so we want to show to everybody that Chelsea is still here. We want to show the best version of us and I hope that it will be with a win in this game.’

Having moved to London from Napoli last summer, Koulibaly is now in position to speak about his introductory season in English football, a year in which he believes he has had experiences that will stand in him in good stead for the rest of his time here.

‘It is true it was difficult season. For me it was a very hard welcome because to come to the Premier League and have a season like this was not what I was thinking about, but football is like this, life is like this.

‘You have to learn from every moment of this season to not do it again next season. For me it was a good season to understand the football in the Premier League, it was a big chance for me. I learn a lot about me, I learn a lot about the club and football in the Premier League so for the future it will be good.

‘I hope next year we are going to see a better version of Chelsea and a better version of me to help the team and to win something next year.’